Boy Scout designs Vietnam Memorial at VA Medical Center
Tyler Prell designed and built the memorial at the VA Medical Center.
LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Vietnam veterans are getting some of the praise and honor they didn't get when the war ended.
It is all because of a 17-year-old Kentuckiana boy scout.
His name is Tyler Prell. The teenager designed and built the memorial at the VA Medical Center in Louisville.
He was inspired after meeting some Vietnam veterans and hearing stories about how they were mistreated after the war.
"We spent a lot of time at the Vietnam wall, and we spoke to a few veterans," Prell said.
A trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the age of 12 was a game changer for Prell.
"Just a huge disbelief," he said. "I didn't expect any, any U.S. solider would be treated that way."
Prell was visiting the Memorial Wall with his Boy Scout troop and was shocked by what he heard from some of the Vietnam veterans he met there.
"They told us about how they were spat on and called 'baby killers,' and I thought, that's not how any soldier should be treated," Prell said."
That's when Prell started thinking of ways to honor the veterans. He eventually drew a diagram and shared the idea with his parents.
"I just jotted it down real quick and thought, I'm going to do this and this for the Vietnam veterans, and I'm going to make it work," he said.
"His mother thought it might be a little bit overwhelming as he put a lot of detail into it, and I told him to dream big," said Steve Prell, Tyler's father.
That dream became reality last week. That's when Tyler's memorial garden was unveiled in front of hundreds of veterans on motorcycles. The vets were en route to Washington, D.C.
"It was very emotional," Steve Prell said. "They just kept repeating over and over, 'we can't tell you how much we appreciate this' and that made it all worthwhile, I think, for Tyler."
And Tyler said it was also worthwhile giving the veterans the warm welcome they never got years ago.
"I am just trying to trying to give that feeling back to them," Tyler said.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden is now a permanent fixture at the VA Medical Center.
Copyright 2016 Associated Press. All rights reserved.